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Salon team turning up late or not at all?

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

Do you have a problem with your team turning up late or not at all? If so, you are not alone. Staff lateness and absence is one of the biggest issues that salon owners face and has all kinds of knock-on effects that are bad for your business:

  • Clients don’t like being let down or swapped to a different team member and will seek out a more reliable salon.
  • Other team members will resent having to frequently cover for colleagues and will start to look for another job.
  • Your reputation will be damaged and staff morale will plummet.

All of this will inevitably have a negative effect on your bottom line. So, we asked Simon Harris of MySalonManager what can be done.

When employing salon staff

Tread carefully during the recruitment process. Remember that the law says you must not ask an applicant about their previous sickness record before a job offer is made.

And after a job offer is made, previous employers are not obliged to give you information about how often the applicant was off work.

If they do, you may be breaking discrimination laws if you withdraw a job offer because the person was off sick due to a disability.

It’s a bit of a minefield, so always take legal advice if you’re not sure about any aspect of the employment process.

Top tip: Stay legal! Don’t forget, it’s against the law to ask job applicants if they have any health issues or disabilities before you make a job offer. There are a few exceptions, such as when you need to find out if reasonable adjustments are required for the recruitment process. Always get legal advice: don’t risk being taken to an employment tribunal.

Members: Get your recruitment adverts seen. Post team vacancies for free on our Good Salon Guide website job board.

Have a salon attendance policy

Make sure you have an attendance policy in place that covers both absence and lateness and ensure all your team members are familiar with it.

Your policy should include:

  • The methods staff should use to let you know they will be late or absent. Can they text or email? Or should they phone to speak to you/their direct line manager?
  • A rule that staff should let you know as soon as possible if they are going to be late or absent.
  • Guidelines on how often they should be in contact so you know how long they could be off.
  • Information about how you will record sick days and lateness.
  • Clear rules about compassionate and bereavement leave.

Top tip: Employees are entitled to a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off if a dependant dies. This does not have to be someone who is related to them. You do not have to pay your employee for this time off, but you can do so if you wish. Make sure your policy is clear and applied consistently to all staff. Employees have the right to two weeks leave if their child (under 18) dies or is stillborn after 24 weeks’ pregnancy. This is known as ‘Jack’s Law’.

Members: Get free information and advice about all aspects of running a successful salon business from our knowledgeable industry experts.

Back to work interviews for salon employees

Always carry out a back to work interview. Be consistent with this so staff know there will be no exceptions.

Complete a written record of the interview.

Most back to work interviews will be straightforward, but you’ll need to dig a little deeper if your staff member is taking repeated days off sick.

Don’t be confrontational. They may be experiencing personal difficulties including mental health issues, so you will need to be understanding and supportive. Try to find out what’s going on and if there’s anything you can do to help get things back on an even keel.

Dealing with lateness

Again, always be consistent when dealing with lateness. If you react casually, you will give out the message that it’s OK to arrive late.

Make sure your staff understand that late arrivals will be taken seriously and recorded. Staff must also let you know if they are going to be late and why.

Persistent absence and lateness

If your initial interventions and support do not seem to be working, you will need to ensure you are keeping accurate records of absence and lateness.

You will then be able to issue an ‘informal letter of concern’ before going down the formal disciplinary route.

Top tip: Stay legal! Your hair or beauty employees can take time off work if they are ill. However, if they are off ill for more than seven days in a row including non-working days, they must give you a ‘fit note’. This will say your employee is either ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit for work’. If the note says your employee ‘may be fit for work’ you should discuss any changes that can be made so they can return to work. If you cannot agree on suitable changes, your employee must be treated as ‘not fit for work’.